Hawley illegally paid Senate consultants with state campaign funds, Democrats al…

A Democratic legal fund is pressing the Federal Election Commission for an investigation of Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, alleging that the Republican’s state campaign illegally paid consultants for his Senate bid.

State campaign funds cannot be used for federal campaigns. The rule is intended to ensure that candidates cannot dodge federal contribution limits by raising money under higher state caps and using it for their Senate or congressional campaigns, said Brendan Fischer, director of federal and FEC reform for the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan watchdog in Washington, D.C.

But as Fischer pointed out, Missouri does allow officeholders to use campaign funds for “any ordinary and necessary expenses incurred in connection with the duties of a holder of elective office.”

Hawley is the top Republican recruit to run against embattled Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill next year in Missouri, a state President Donald Trump won by nearly 19 percentage points in 2016. McCaskill is widely considered the most vulnerable Democrat in the Senate.

Scott Paradise, a spokesman for Hawley’s Senate campaign, dismissed the allegations as politically motivated.

“Missouri would be better off if Campaign Claire and her Democrat allies got to work on delivering middle class tax relief rather than launching these baseless partisan attacks,” Paradise said.

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